Saturday, March 19, 2016

We Are Back And We Are Baking!

The laptop is back and running nicely, thank God for Apple Care! So what did I do today?

It was Pizzagaina day at our house. I use to make these on Good Friday but I will see my brother Stephen tomorrow for Palm Sunday dinner, so it made sense to bake them today. I started at 9:30AM and took the last pie out of the oven at 2:30PM. 
I made the dough earlier in the week and froze it.

Last night I was up until 11PM cutting all the meat and cooking the sausage. Today I just added the cut up Basket Cheese to the meat mixture and started baking. 

Luckily I have my Mom's rolling pin because my rolling pin of 35 years just did not want to roll easily. It seemed like there was an issue with the handle and the roller. Time to look for a new one. 

Towards the end of the pie productions I decided to try muffin size Pizzagainas. It took a couple of attempts with the dough but this an idea I will revisit next year. 

Of course I could not stop with the pies. I made Stuffed Artichokes too. More on those later this week. 

Dinner? Seriously there was NO WAY I was about to cook dinner. We had our usual Pizzagaina baking day dinner.  Pizza. 

Tonight we ordered from New Haven Apizza & Bakery. A Sausage and Pepper Pie and Eggplant with Mozzarella Pie. Wow they were delicious.

At the end of the day I checked my FitBit. And those are all miles and steps in the kitchen! Does it count if it is in one room?

And here are some more photos from the Pizzagaina Baking Day. The recipe is at the end of this post. I am heading to bed!

Pate Brisee - (this recipe is for 2 pies, top and bottom crusts)

6 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
22 Tbsp sweet butter, chilled

12 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water

Sift the flour, salt and pepper together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is like coarse meal.

Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.

Turn dough out onto your work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hours. The dough and also be frozen.

Eleanor Lombardi's Pizzagaina

2 pounds baked ham, diced

1 pound pepperoni, skinned, diced and boiled, drained (boiling removes excess grease)
1 pound sweet sausage, fully cooked, drained
1 pound basket cheese, diced

Mix all ingredients. Roll out a quarter of the dough. Place the crust in pie dish. Use a pie dish with handles if you have one. You will want to check the bottom of the pie to see if it is browned. Add the half of meat and cheese mixture to the dish. Break and mix 3 eggs (each pie requires 3 eggs) and pour over the top of the meat. Roll out another quarter of the dough. Place on top of the meat. Crimp edges. Cut 3 slits in crust. Bake 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. (I baked mine for an hour and 15 minutes). Repeat this for the second pie.
With the meat recipe you may end up with enough for more than the two pies. Let just say it is one of those Easter miracles. I usually make enough dough for 6 pies just in case.  The crust recipe above is only for 2 pies. I prefer to make the crust in small batches. Making enough for 6 pies at once is more than my kitchen or I can handle.  The crust can go in the freezer so it is "like money in the bank."

When the pies are in the oven keep an eye on overflow. The egg might spill out the slits. It may be a good idea to put some foil under the pie dishes on the lower rack. As long as the egg does not spill over you house will smell amazing. 

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